As a dog owner, you need to make sure the environment is safe before allowing your dog to spend time there. Tour dog parks, dog daycares, and boarding facilities before using them. Be sure the area is clean, and that dog poop is quickly picked up. It’s critical that dogs are not given the opportunity to eat feces. If a dog park has a problem with pet owners not picking up their pet’s waste, set an example by policing the area and cleaning up any feces you find as soon as you get to the park. Talk to other pet owners and encourage them to join you in keeping the park clean so that everyone’s dogs are safe.
Before putting your dog in a group play setting, be sure that other dogs in the group are not displaying undesirable behavior. Your dog will learn from other dogs and they can pick up bad habits from dogs in the group.
Be sure to check out the surrounding area near any facility where your dog will be spending time. Be on the lookout for wet or swampy areas nearby that might be breeding grounds for insects that can carry viruses or diseases. Owners of small dogs should watch for signs of predatory birds or animals.
You also need to consider your dog’s home environment as well as their play or social environment. Check outdoor areas where your dog regularly roams. A general rule of thumb is if the water is not running or moving with a decent current then you should not let your dog in the water. Still stagnate water can be dangerous. You should prevent your dog from swimming or drinking from puddles, rivers, lakes or streams that may be contaminated by the urine of wild animals carrying leptospirosis or may contain other harmful bacteria. This is a disease that in dogs can cause kidney and liver failure as well as lung disease and can be fatal. Look for other types of feces in your backyards such as rabbits or possums or other animals, you can put up a small animal screen on your fence that may help keep these other creatures out of your dog’s play area. Do not let your dog eat any type of feces and make sure to remove it from your yard or any play areas that your dog frequents.
Before you take your dog hiking, find out about predatory wildlife that inhabits the area. You will want to be prepared before you encounter coyotes, wild cats, bears, and other animals that may pose a threat to you and your dog. If you have a small dog, please keep your eyes to the sky and the trees where the predatory-type birds may be looking upon your pet.